A NATURAL HISTORY WRITER. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Damian Fagan is a freelance natural history writer and nature photographer who focuses on the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. Of course, this gives him a good excuse to go hiking...
The wildflower display in southern Utah was incredible this year. Thanks to an El Nino fall and winter, the desert exploded with flowers. Some had not been seen for years, others just came on in abundance. Unfortunately, my Canyon Country Wildflowers field guide was unavailable from the Globe Pequot Press. Staff changes at GPP and the book entering the reprinting cycle resulted in copies not being available. Fortunately, the reprint process is underway and I'll be making changes and additions to the book. That being said, I don't know when the release date for the revised edition will be. But, I am crossing my fingers that there are a few more El Nino years ahead!
...and in the canyons of southern Utah. Spectacular. Awesome. Familiar. Landscape that I once knew so well.
Wildflowers abounded in the Moab area; a product of winter snowfall and spring rain. Probably the best bloom in over thirty years. Species unseen for years now in full regalia. Fields of wildflowers cloaking the desert, and I was only there towards the end. Hopefully some of the photos taken will go into the new and revised edition of Canyon Country Wildflowers due out sometime in Spring of 2011.
But it wasn't just the endless blooms and verdant desert that held my interest. Interrupting the heat of summer was a cold front straight from the Arctic. The almost-bare La Sal Mountains got more than dusted with a June snowstorm - either the first snow of the season or a very late spring storm depending upon your perspective. Many Moabites were not thrilled at the idea of winter returning; many swore they would not complain about the summer sun if winter would only cease. Reminds me of a David Lee poem, Ugly, where the farmers sacrifice half-wit sons, farm animals, and furniture to try and stop the rains. But what changed the weather? "She was a good wife."